After I had been in prison nearly seven months, one day a merchant tailor whom I well knew in Newark, and who made my clothes, including my wedding suit when I married the Widow Roberts, came to see me. The legislature was in session and he was a member of the Senate. He knew all the circumstances of my case, and was present at my trial. After the first salutation, he laughingly said:
“Well, Doctor, those are not quite as nice clothes as I used to furnish you with.”
“No,” I replied, “but perhaps they are more durable.”
After some other chaff and chat, he made me tell him all about my first marriage and subsequent separation, and after talking awhile he went away, promising to see me soon. I looked upon this only as a friendly visit, for which I was grateful; and attached no great importance to it. But he came again in a few days, and after some general conversation, he told me that there was a movement on foot in my favor, which might bring the best of news to me; that he had not only talked with his friends in the legislature, and enlisted their sympathy and assistance, but he had laid the whole circumstances, from beginning to end, before Governor Price; that the Governor would visit the prison shortly, and then I must do my best in pleading my own cause.
In a day or two the Governor came, and I had an opportunity to relate my story. I told him all about my first unfortunate marriage, and the separation. He said that he knew the facts, and also that he had lately received a letter from my oldest son on the subject, and had read it with great interest. I then appealed to the Governor for his clemency; my sentence was an outrageously severe one, and seemed almost prompted by private malice; I implored him to pardon me; I went down on my knees before him, and asked his mercy. He told me to be encouraged; that he would be in the prison again in a few days, and he would see me. He then went away.
I at once drew up a petition which my friend in the Senate circulated in the legislature for signatures, and afterwards sent it to Newark, securing some of the best names in that city. It was then returned to me, and two weeks afterwards when the Governor came again to the prison I presented it to him, and he put it in his pocket.
In two days’ time, Governor Price sent my pardon into the prison. The Warden came and told me of it, and said he would let me out in an hour. Then came a keeper who once more put the cap over my face and led me around the interior-I was willingly led now-till he brought me to a room where he gave me my own clothes which I put on, and with a kind parting word, and five dollars from the Warden, I was soon in the street, once more a free man. My sentence of ten years had been fulfilled by an imprisonment of exactly seven months.
I went and called on Governor Price to thank him for his great goodness towards me. He received me kindly, talked to me for some time, and gave me some good advice and a little money. With this and the five dollars I received from the Warden of the prison I started for New York.